Our planet,” wrote the late Carl Sagan, “is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.”*
Sagan, an atheist, obviously didn’t pick up on all the “hints” that help has, indeed, come from somewhere else to save us.
First, the creation points to something beyond itself. Logic alone reveals that no things in the created existence—from the dirt under our feet to the 2 trillion (and counting) galaxies in the cosmos—made themselves, but had to come from some- thing beyond and transcendent to them (despite all the contemporary creation myths about the universe arising from nothing). And though the vastness, the beauty, and the complexity of the cre- ation do not, in and of themselves, point to anything specific that will save us, this vastness, beauty, and complexity together hint at something so much greater and more hopeful beyond our- selves. So much, in fact, Paul warns his readers that enough about the Lord has been revealed in the created world to cause the lost, in the end, to be “without excuse” (Rom. 1:20).
From Genesis 1:1 to Revelation 22:21 the Word of God documents so much of what the God who created this vastness, beauty, and complexity has done to save humanity. The Bible is all about help “from elsewhere” that will do for us what we cannot do for ourselves.
“And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus” (Luke 1:31). The virgin conception of Jesus in the womb of Mary— if not help from elsewhere, what is?
More than half the world’s population has heard about Jesus dying on the cross. Here was God Himself, the Creator, the Sustainer, facing in Himself the Father’s righteous wrath against evil so that we don’t have to. “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved” (John 3:17). The cross is not just a “hint” about help from elsewhere; it was the cosmic event, which reveals to all creation what God has done to save us.
“Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen” (Rev. 1:7). The second coming of Jesus, which was guaranteed to us by the first coming, is the climactic manifestation of that help from elsewhere.
All these “hints” and more (such as fulfilled Bible prophecy), Sagan, unfortunately, missed. He was, however, right about one thing: without help “from else- where,” we have nothing to save us from ourselves or from anything else. And without that help, we are lost amid our obscurity in the vast and cold silence.
*Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space (New York: Ballantine Books, 1997), pp. 12, 13.
Clifford Goldstein is a longtime Adventist Review columnist and the editor of the Adult Bible Study Guides at the world headquarters of the Seventh-dayAdventist Church. He is also the author of numerous book and articles.